Imagine criminals spreading viruses to your computer again and again, stealing your credit card number while you think your making an on-line purchase, uploading child pornography without any real consequences. This would be the norm if cyberspace wasn’t regulated at all (Ordering Chaos 7). It is clear that we need regulation in some form to some extent, or a combination of forms to some extent; however the debate gets pretty heated pretty rapidly when trying to decide which regulation technique works best for the internet and who should be the central players. Cyber-libertarians, industries, and our government all have very different ideas of how the web should be regulated; all believing their theories can successfully manage our new and radical medium, which is still in its experimental stage.

First, the most radical of the theories, cyber-libertarians cringe at government involvement and would rather everybody have the free will to do as they please on-line with as minimal regulation, if any, as possible (Thierer and Szoka). On the other hand, industries believe they can step up and handle the radical medium we have all complicated and simplified simultaneously by adding and subtracting information due to changing knowledge and passing social norms. Industries want to regulate the internet by simply regulating themselves and their commercial activity on the web (Ordering Chaos 13). But what about crime and protection on-line? Industry has no legislative backing, and therefore can not protect the “little guy” when somebody spreads a virus to his computer or steals his credit card number on-line (Ordering Chaos 7). However, the laws, which have always been there since the founding of our country, can protect civilians on-line and prosecute criminals who break government laws (Ordering Chaos 13). With so many possible candidates, and all of them no doubt flawed in their own way, which can we trust to regulate the medium so many of us use every day? The government should regulate the internet by advancing their laws into cyberspace.


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